OIL CITY, La. -- Masks aren't bad. Mask mandates are. That's the message from one Louisiana lawmaker in the face of mask mandates in Shreveport and Caddo Parish.
Republican Danny McCormick takes a torch and a chainsaw to masks in his Facebook video that's getting hundreds of reactions, comments and shares.
"The Constitution is being shredded before our very eyes," McCormick says, before cranking up a chainsaw and slicing a mask in the video.
He says mask mandates violate our freedom.
"I think it should be the individual choice. Asking is fine. Mandating is not," the first term house representative told KTBS. "This country was founded on the freedoms of individual liberty."
But a fellow Republican, John-Paul Young of the Caddo Parish Commission, disagrees. Young sponsors the parish version of a mask mandate to be voted on Thursday.
"A libertarian would say, 'I have a right to harm myself. I don't have a right to harm you.' And in the case of masks, the mask doesn't protect the wearer. It protects the other person. So it has much stronger justification under libertarianism, which I think is one of the guiding principles of Mr. McCormick's comments," Young says.
Also in his video, McCormick compares people who chose not to wear masks to the persecution of Jews leading up to World War II.
"People who don't wear a mask will soon be painted as the enemy, just as they did to the Jews in Nazi Germany," McCormick says in the nearly two minute long video.
Asked to clarify that reference, McCormick told KTBS, "I'm not referring to the murder of the Jews. I'm not referring to that. I'm talking about leading up to that, that began by the demonization of the Jews. That's what led to the holocaust. Not that this is equal to the holocaust. But those of us that don't want to wear a mask are being painted as villains."
Rabbi Sydni Rubinstein of Agudath Achim Synagogue dislikes the comparison.
She says, "It's really belittling the experience of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany. There's a huge difference between limited access to food and resources and wearing a little piece of cloth on your face."
McCormick says 90 percent of the feedback on the video has been positive. But he's also getting some vulgar voicemails.
He does not wear a mask in public because he says it's not scientifically proven to fight the coronavirus, especially since many people don't wear them properly by covering both their nose and mouth.